Excelsior Mountain Trail

Glacier, Washington

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1 Review
4 out of 5
My children call this the “Sound of Music Mountain” because its alpine meadows and spectacular views of Mount Baker, Mount Shuksan, and peaks across the border in Canada reminded them of the movie scenery. The mountain is actually named for a long-ago mine called the Great Excelsior. The trail is neither steep nor gentle, gaining 500 feet a mile. It can be very muddy when the snow is melting or after several days of rain.
Best Hikes with Kids: Western Washington & the Cascades

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Best Hikes with Kids: Western Washington & the Cascades

by Joan Burton (The Mountaineers Books)

My children call this the “Sound of Music Mountain” because its alpine meadows and spectacular views of Mount Baker, Mount Shuksan, and peaks across the border in Canada reminded them of the movie scenery. The mountain is actually named for a long-ago mine called the Great Excelsior. The trail is neither steep nor gentle, gaining 500 feet a mile. It can be very muddy when the snow is melting or after several days of rain.

©  Joan Burton/The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Backpacking, Hiking
Nearby City: Glacier
Distance: 7
Elevation Gain: 1,200 feet
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Moderate
Duration: Day hike or backpack
Season: Mid-July-September
Trailhead Elevation: 4,200 feet
Top Elevation: 5,400 feet
Local Contacts: Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest
Local Maps: Green Trails No. 13 Mount Baker; USGS Bearpaw Mountain
Driving Directions: Directions to Excelsior Mountain Trail

Recent Trail Reviews

9/28/2003
0

The road to the trailhead is not well-marked and is so long I thought a hundred times I must have wandered off the path and was now driving aimlessly along unnamed forest service roads. It was very surprising then to reach the parking lot and find dozens and dozens of cars. Obviously this was a popular destination and I hadn't realized it. The trail began in new growth forest, and quickly got into the older trees, with the thick padding of needles and tree-dust that makes walking so much nicer. Damfino Lakes were a pleasant discovery, with the blueberries ringing the shore. It's a steady climb then, zigzagging up the forested hill, until you round a bend and break out into a steeply inclining sort of meadow that, at the time when I went, was aflame with some sort of plant that turned the most brilliant red in the fall. At the end of the meadow, the trail dips down to a streambed, where you have to do a little jump down some boulders to cross the water. My new water bladder had sprung a leak (all down the back of my shorts, which must have given other hikers all sorts of laughs) so when I saw that beautiful icy cold, swiftly flowing water, I knew I had to stop and get a drink. I'm lucky I haven't gotten sick doing that. It's not the wisest choice, I know. From there, its a climb up bare hillsides, gathering elevation, to where the full range is available. I was lucky enough to reach the top just as the sun set, and was greeted with the most amazing array of pink-tipped peaks (that doesn't sound right somehow). It only took about 40 minutes to scramble back down the trail for home, trying to stay ahead of the dark, and even though I know it's best to avoid hiking that close to dark, that view was worth a great deal.



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Apr 2018